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Environment

Bradenton to settle lawsuit over sewage spills

Manatee River Lift Bridge in Bradenton
Paul R. Burley
/
Wikipedia Commons
The Manatee River Lift Bridge in Bradenton

Environmental advocates say Bradenton took a different approach from nearby cities that have also been sued for leaky sewage systems.

A local environmental advocacy group says it is reaching a settlement with Bradenton after millions of gallons of sewage were allowed to flow into local waterways.

Justin Bloom of Suncoast Waterkeeper said the agreement means that the city will use $8 million in federal stimulus money to repair both aging pipes and sewage treatment plants that overflow during heavy rains.

"It's been a combination of the two, which has resulted in sewage spills, most of which have been going into the Manatee River, but some of which has been going into other local waterways," he said.

One of the largest spills came in 2020, when more than 800,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Sarasota Bay after a wastewater pipe broke in Bradenton.

Bloom said Bradenton took a different approach from nearby cities that have also been sued for leaky sewage systems.

"Compared to the city of St. Petersburg and Gulfport, for example, which focused for years on fighting the litigation in court," he said, "the city of Bradenton took a proactive, collaborative approach in working with us on coming up with solutions, rather than fighting in court."

The lawsuit cited information from state environmental officials that Bradenton spilled at least 30 million gallons of raw sewage into the Manatee River over the past several years.

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